Shifting weather conditions leaving vineyards uneasy

Rogue Valley, Ore.– Some local vineyards say the drastic shift in weather conditions has them worried about this year’s crop.

The warm start to winter means vines could bud early which could make them susceptible to damage from frost if a lengthy winter decides to return.

According to Jamie McCleary, owner of Jaxon Vineyards, consistently cool temperatures would be fine for the plants as they will remain dormant.

“With unusually warm weather, the internal clocks on the plant is just speeding up,” he said. “So to put them back to sleep – so to speak – cold days, cold nights is OK.”

But if the valley keeps getting temperature swings that puts them at risk of freezing, vineyards can protect the vines from frost, but it isn’t cheap.

“The first week of April would be a nice bud break that would leave us five weeks of frost protection and five or six weeks before we’d be out of the woods versus maybe late March and almost two months of frost protection,” said McCleary.

Local vineyards say it’s still too early to worry but they’re hoping conditions stabilize soon.

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